You Can’t Always Prepare for the Choices of Others, Nor Your Own
Today’s blog was prompted by a social media post I saw from a well-respected pastor on Facebook yesterday. This woman is a good pastor and I believe her and her husband mean nothing but the best for their own church as well as others in general. This is not a critique of the post nor of her, nor is it a criticism. I want to tell my readers how this post helped me to expound on what is in my heart for all of you.
The post read: If you prepare for your choices, you won’t need to repair from them. #youmatter
I do agree with the premise of this statement, if you think clearly and make an informed decision, there won’t be any regrets nor anything you have to fix later on down the road. Now for the other side of that coin. What do we do with choices that aren’t ours? What do we do with choices we had to make because of someone else poor choice? What about choices we had to make in a hurry because of someone else’s poor choice? Can we prepare for these situations? These were the questions on my heart after reading her post. I’ll tackle one question at a time.
What do we do with choices that aren’t our choices?
The simple answer to this question is this: we can do nothing with choices we had nothing to do with at all and no input for our part. We can’t prepare for these and we can’t control other people. All we can do at the point someone else’s choice begins affecting us is pray for them and do what we can to keep ourselves healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. You can’t change someone and rarely can you change their choices.
What do we do with choices we had to make because of someone else’s poor choice?
We do what we must for our own health and well-being up to and including staying away from evil and anyone who wants to perpetuate it. We are not responsible for other people or their poor choices. I will say again, we can’t control or change people. You can’t prepare for another person’s bad choice, it is theirs alone and theirs alone to deal with at the time. You will be in a position to make a choice you perhaps did not want to make (therefore you can’t prepare for it) but they have left you no choice otherwise. My late husband’s abuse is one such example. He made a bad choice to be abusive. He left me no choice but to leave because he did not want to heal or get help. I had to leave rather abruptly because I decided I had had enough! This was not a choice I remotely thought possible much less would have prepared for when I married him.
What do we do with choices we had to make in a hurry because of someone else’s poor choice?
We make the best choice we can at the time and we move forward. You can’t prepare for a situation like this either. You have to go with the flow at this point or drive yourself crazy. I will use a personal example again here. About three weeks or so after I left my late husband, he made the decision to end his life – a decision based on many complicated things in his life. He had made some confessions about wanting help and I honestly thought the night he would die he had called to discuss options for counseling – that would not be the case. On June 10th, 2014 at 9:23 pm my husband ended his life. I did not find out until about 3 hours later. At that point, I had to start making a lot of decisions in a hurry - decisions I did not want to make. This continued for the next several days and weeks. I was not only not prepared, I was in a state of shock. No one can prepare for situations like this, no one.
Can we prepare for any of the situations I have described?
The short answer is: No. We don’t have a crystal ball and we can’t see the future. We also can’t drive ourselves crazy trying to prepare for every possible problem or situation in a relationship. What we can do is take care of ourselves and encourage our partner to take care of themselves. We can trust God to be faithful and make a way out when we need one. We can trust God to take care of us, no matter what happens. We can understand that even if we can’t prepare for every choice that is presented to us nor every choice we have to make, we are loved by a God who can redeem anything and loves to do so.
He can redeem our choices, no matter how they came about or how prepared or unprepared we were at the time. I’d prefer to put my trust in Him than in myself anyway. He’s much better at taking care of me than I have ever been at taking care of myself. I hope you hear my heart today. I want nothing more than for you to be free and loved! You don’t have to make perfect choices because you are loved by a perfect God.